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Unformatted text preview: Nixon’s plan to leave Vietnam had two aspects • Strengthening position of Saigon government on the ground so that it could survive withdrawal • Negotiating with Hanoi a formal end to the war Why was a formal end to the war necessary or even desirable – why not declare the war over and walk away? • Without formal peace treaty, there was no way to get back American POWs • If a treaty could erect workable barriers against PAVN infiltration and against a resumption of fighting, it could stabilize situation in Vietnam. If PAVN invaded anyway, provided legal basis to send American troops back in. • American politics demanded a formal end to the war, as it would show that America had seen its commitment through to the end. Getting out too fast would be a problem, too • Nixon needed time to make his Vietnamization plan work o Saw it as a 3-4 year program • Needed time to develop diplomacy with Moscow and Beijing in order to isolate Hanoi from its two chief arms supplier Hanoi had reasons to avoid prompt end, too • Position on ground had weakened greatly, needed time to rebuild rural networks. A deal in 1970 could cement Saigon’s gains on the ground • Hanoi was convinced that if it held on long enough, troop withdrawals and American war-weariness would increase their position at the bargaining table Both sides convinced that holding out would work in their favor better than negotiating an immediate end • Both sides lied, deceived one another and the public eye • Paris Peace Agreement not signed until 1973, 5 years after negotiations began o By this time, another 20,000 Americans out of some 50,000 total American troop deaths had been killed Johnson, on eve of 1968 primary had promised in his resignation a negotiation for the end of war • This opened up peace talks o These got nowhere, Hanoi was not willing to end war...
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- Winter '08
- Vietnam War, American troops, peace agreement, Saigon Nixon